The Rise of Mezcal: Episode ?
Is it finally time for our “mezcal is having its moment” piece? That’s a conversation Susan and I have had many times in the past year or two. I even started writing it a few times and our latest t-shirt is an allusion to that question. If we were waiting for a sign from above, the last week certainly gave us lots of ammunition because three, count ’em, three big publications ran their mezcal pieces last week. And not just some run of the mill publications but The New Yorker, Afar, and The Los Angeles Times.
They’re all must reads but I’m especially partial to Chris Colin’s piece in Afar because I was a part of it. He wanted to experience mezcal so Experience Mezcal’s Clayton Szczech and I took him to a variety of mezcalerias, palenques, and other mezcal events. Not only did we have a great time, we also got a great piece of journalism out of it that really gets at the soul of mezcal and the moment. Who else could you trust to make kale a verb and make it work?
But the even better news is that all three of these pieces really get at what attracts people to mezcal and they are taking the industry seriously: Each has an angle on the janus like fixation with the hand made traditional and what happens when it encounters the international market. That’s especially true at this moment when we have the whole NOM 199 controversy threatening that very tradition and when most media outlets are content to write drive by ‘tequila’s smokier cousin’ pieces that Susan satirized so effectively in our April Fool’s Day post Friday. Just in case you think we’re the geeks, take a look at KQED’s post which takes a very similar angle and make sure to get the latest on the John Taffer ridiculousness to see how this plays out in the real world.
We’re so happy that we finally have arrived at this moment and can’t wait to keep the momentum going. God knows that we need the forces behind NOM 199 to pay attention so that they don’t kill mezcal before it reaches its potential.